Approaching mid 40’s, I can’t help noticing subtle changes my skin have been undergoing in the past few years. It is drier, rougher, with a few stubborn wrinkles gracing my face. To top it off, the skin around my body begins to sag too. In my search for a natural solution to tighter skin, one age-defying concept advocates incorporating herbs into skincare.
Aloe vera, gotu kola, green tea, nettles and horsetail are some of the most beneficial herbs known for the tightening effect. They can improve skin’s firmness and elasticity by boosting collagen production and protecting it against UV radiation’s damaging effects.
However, each herb is unique in its composition, with varying benefits. Today’s post will look a bit closer at what causes the skin to sag and which herbs can help you to tighten skin.
- What Causes the Skin to Sag with Age?
- 5 Skin Tightening Herbs
- How to Choose Skin Firming Creams and Lotions
What Causes the Skin to Sag with Age?
Firm, plump and wrinkle-free skin is synonymous with youth. However, as one ages, the skin gets thinner, loses its elasticity and firmness. Our skin starts to sag, folds appear, and the first wrinkles begin to see the light. There are a few reasons why that happen, and among others, they include:
Loss of collagen and elastin
One of the reasons skin wrinkles and sags is the loss of collagen and elastin, proteins produced in the dermis (inner layer of the skin). While the elastin gives skin the ability to bounce back after being stretched, collagen provides firmness. As we age, collagen and elastin production drop, skin loses the ability to stretch and snap quickly back into shape, resulting in wrinkles and sagging.
Exposure to the sun (photoaging)
Sun exposure plays a significant role in skin ageing, as a 2013 study of 298 caucasian women found and is responsible for 80% of facial ageing signs (1). Including wrinkles, sagging skin and skin texture. The sun’s damaging effect on the skin is due to UVA radiation penetrating the skin and damaging elastin over time (2), leading to sagging.
Loss of fat in the skin
The amount of fat in the deeper layers of your skin decreases as you get older, causing the skin to sag or droop. That is particularly noticeable in the face, as fat below the eye area, cheeks, temples, and chin.
Fluctuating weight is another factor that can cause the skin to sag. If you have ever lost a lot of weight in a short time, you will be familiar with this phenomenon. The skin around the arms and stomach become loose and weak due to the damage to collagen and elastic fibres (3), affecting the skin’s ability to snap back to place.
5 Skin Tightening Herbs
Skin loses elasticity with age. That’s a fact. However, certain herbs can help increase collagen production in the skin, prevent wrinkles formation, sagging and improve skin’s overall appearance. Here are some herbs that should be at the top of your list.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant with thick, fleshy leaves containing various active constituents. The leaves hold many curative properties, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and wound healing. They have been traditionally used to treat burns, cuts, and other skin problems due to their ability to improve collagen production when applied to the skin (4). Rich in antioxidants, it can also help reduce the harmful effect of free radicals on skin cells.
Native to Asia’s wetlands, Gotu kola, also known as Centella Asiatica, offers an extensive range of skincare benefits and has taken the natural skincare world by storm. Its antioxidant effect, ability to stimulate collagen production (5), hydrating and tightening impact makes it a favoured ingredient in many anti-ageing skincare formulations.
When it comes to the health benefits of green tea, I think we all can agree it’s an all-around winner. And it’s not only a cup of tea that can do you good. Research shows applying green tea extract to your skin can improve its elasticity (6) and protect it against the damaging effects of UV radiation (7). Furthermore, green tea also has a moisturising effect on the skin (8), which is crucial for ageing skin.
Nettle is another superb herb that traditional herbalists have used for centuries for various health benefits. In skincare, they are a great ingredient to include in anti-ageing products as they can help you preserve a youthful look. Ursolic acid and quercetin found in nettles can help firm the skin by inhibiting the activity of a collagen degrading enzyme, collagenase (9).
A popular herb in traditional northern hemisphere medicine, horsetail, has been explored for its various remedial properties since the ancient Greeks and Romans. In terms of skincare, horsetail is an abundant source of silica, a mineral that stimulates collagen production in the skin, improves skin elasticity and texture, and has a tightening effect on the skin. Moreover, the high antioxidant content in horsetail also makes it an excellent remedy for ageing skin, protecting against UV radiation-induced damage (10).
How to Choose Skin Firming Creams and Lotions
With numerous skincare products on the market promising to tighten and firm your skin, it may be overwhelming to know which ones to pick. After all, when you part with your hard-earned cash, you want to know the product actually works.
When choosing firming creams, look for formulas that contain
- Antioxidants protect the skin from the damaging effect of oxidative stress and help to prevent the formation of wrinkles. Green tea and gotu kola are excellent examples of such an ingredient.
- Cell regulators, ingredients that can stimulate collagen production in your skin, such as gotu kola, nettles, and horsetail.
As a general rule, though, to prevent skin from sagging, it is best to adopt a holistic approach to your skincare. That includes treating your skin with nourishing ingredients from the inside out, exercising, using sun protection, and keeping hydrated (11).
With age, skin gets thinner, loses its elasticity and firmness. And even though we can’t stop the ageing process, there is a thing or two we can do for our skin. When your skin needs a bit of tightening up, add in some of these herbs to help. You’ll be glowing in no time.
What is a holistic approach to skincare?
A holistic approach to skincare focuses on the whole body as a system. It treats the skin as part of a whole and not as an isolated entity. It encompasses dietary changes, lifestyle choices, and exercise to ensure your skin stays healthy.
What else can I do to boost collagen production in the face?
There are a few things you can do to boost collagen in your face. Adding foods rich in vitamin C into your diet, staying hydrated, keeping your sugar intake to a minimum, and facial massage are all helpful in keeping your skin healthy.
- Effect of the sun on visible clinical signs of ageing in Caucasian skin
- Ultraviolet radiation reduces desmosine cross-links in elastin.
- Image analyser study of the skin in patients with morbid obesity and massive weight loss
- ALOE VERA: A SHORT REVIEW
- Centella Asiatica: a Concise drug review with probable clinical uses
- Changes in skin mechanical properties after long-term application of a cream containing green tea extract
- A Review of the Role of Green Tea ( Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy
- The use of green tea extract in cosmetic formulations: not only an antioxidant active ingredient
- Nettle (Urtica dioica L.) as a source of antioxidant and anti-ageing phytochemicals for cosmetic applications
- Antioxidative and antiproliferative activities of different horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) extracts
- Skin anti-ageing strategies